Happy Thanksgiving! In the spirit of holiday classics that get trotted out each year here’s a special Turkey Day encore of last year’s review of the laughably bad Thanksgiving Day themed slasher movie from the 1980’s. Until someone makes a horror film about a guy in a Pilgrim outfit slashing people this is what we’ve got.
SLASHER IN THE HOUSE (1981) – Category: Enjoyably campy bad movie elevated by kitsch-value in the casting The success of John Carpenter’s Halloween in the late 1970’s launched a frenzy of holiday-themed slasher movies trying to cash in on that film’s success. The most infamous, of course, was the Silent Night, Deadly Night series with the slasher dressed as Santa Claus (and its notorious tag line “You made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas!” ), but other holidays got a customized slasher flick, too, like New Year’s Eve (the hilariously bad New Year’s Evil), Valentine’s Day (the original My Bloody Valentine) and Mother’s Day (in a movie of the same name). It even got so any annual event was fodder for the splatter film industry, as we saw the release of films like the Prom Night movies, April Fool’s Day, Happy Birthday To Me, Graduation Day and The Class Reunion Massacre.
Slasher In The House, also released under the title Home Sweet Home, was a slice ‘em and dice ‘em flick for the Thanksgiving holiday. The kitsch casting comes in the form of Jake “Body By Jake” Steinfeld, workout guru and later the star of the sitcom Big Brother Jake, who plays the slasher in the film. Jake, typical of an 80’s slasher character, is nigh indestructible, like Jason Voorhees (even before his zombification) and Bartholomew, the killer wearing a Richard Nixon mask in Horror House On Highway 5 (QV). Jake’s character’s nearly superhuman strength and stamina is explained by his addiction to PCP, which we see him injecting under his tongue for gross-out value shortly after he escapes from a mental institution at the beginning of the film. Our lead crazy then runs over a senior citizen (whose body apparently contains more blood than any three other people from the amount that comes gushing out) in a stolen car.
His flight eventually takes him to a sprawling California ranch where the most dysfunctional family you’ll ever see outside of a reality tv series has gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving. These people are so annoying and so incredibly stupid, even for horror film characters, that you’re almost glad to see Jake whittle their numbers down with giddy abandon. Be sure to have your Big Brother Jake jokes at the ready for the part of the film where it looks like an innocent little girl is going to fall victim to our smiler with the knife. Luckily it turns out to be a false scare, as the little girl goes unharmed, kind of like the similar teasing bit in the killer elevator movie The Lift (QV). One final laugh is provided by the unbelievably lame and unimaginative attempt to set up a sequel which never came.
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